Live bolder knowing that life does not last forever.

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Live-A-Little is your own personal mortality status bar. It predicts how many years you have left to live based on actuarial life expectancy tables and your current age. Do not take it too seriously. Just use the time you have to live-a-little.

The Live-A-Little e-ink display updates with a new "years remaining" prediction when the solar panel on the back of the device receives direct sunlight for at least 20 seconds. Suction cups to secure it to a window that sees direct sunlight at least once a day. The device will automatically update several times on sunny days and not at all on cloudy days. 

If you are not particularly fond of the current prediction, pressing the button on the front of the display while will also update the display. Updating your current age simply requires using a jumper wire with the pins on the back of the device. Pin functions are "Set", "+", and "-".

The Live-A-Little device is fully solar powered and does not require batteries.

If you have access to a 3D printer and soldering iron, the total cost to build a Live-A-Little is less than $30.

Live-A-Little Arduino sketch

x-zip-compressed - 36.82 kB - 06/19/2021 at 03:45



3D model of Live-A-Little cover for 3D printing. 0.2mm layer height, 0.6mm wall thickness, 30% infill

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 484.85 kB - 06/19/2021 at 03:41



3D model of Live-A-Little case for 3D printing. 0.2mm layer height, 0.6mm wall thickness, 30% infill, include supports

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 369.89 kB - 06/19/2021 at 03:41



3D model of Live-A-Little button for 3D printing. 0.2mm layer height, 0.6mm wall thickness, 30% infill

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 244.57 kB - 06/19/2021 at 03:41


  • 1 × Waveshare 2.9in e-paper display module, 296x128 pixels, black and white
  • 1 × Arduino Pro Mini 3.3V/8Mhz
  • 1 × Solar panel, 100x28mm, 5.5V, 70mA
  • 3 × Suction cups for glass, 18mm diameter
  • 3 × Flat head screw, M4x0.7mm, 10mm long

View all 8 components

  • Estimate Years Remaining

    John Opsahl06/23/2021 at 04:47 0 comments

    Live-A-Little makes a prediction of how many years you have left to live based on actuarial life tables and your current age. 

    In particular, it uses the 2017 actuarial life table reported by the United States Social Security Administration. The actuarial life table lists life expectancy data by gender, but the data used for the Live-A-Little prediction is an average of both genders. Consequently, Live-A-Little will slightly overpredict male life span by 1-3 years and slightly underpredict female life span by 1-3 years. It's easy enough to just use the life expectancy data for one gender, but I wanted to make the first prototype representative for both genders. 

    Some interesting things to note about the life expectancy data (see image above):

    • infant mortality spike before age 1
    • average age of death is close to 78 years old
    • mode of age of death is close to 87 years old

    The Live-A-Little approach to predicting life expectancy works as follows:

    1. sum all deaths at and above the current age
    2. generate a random number between 0 and the sum of all deaths at and above the current age
    3. counting up from your current age, the age "bucket" that the random number falls within is the age prediction

    This prediction method ignores any lifestyle (i.e. "controllable") influence on life expectancy. It is most similar to picking a random person from a crowd of Americans who are at least as old as you and saying that you have the same life expectancy as as that person. More often than not that person will have average lifestyle and average luck that results in a near average life expectancy, but sometimes their life expectancy could be less or more depending on their unique combination of lifestyle and luck.

  • Inspiration for the device

    John Opsahl06/22/2021 at 22:49 0 comments

    Our understanding of how much life we have left to live seems to influence our approach to living life to the fullest. Think you have only six months to live? All you may want to do is spend time with family and travel. Going to live for the next thirty years? Maybe going back to school for several years to change to a career you enjoy is worthwhile.  

    None of us can predict how much time we have left to live. You could have until tomorrow or sixty years from now. The tendency seems to be either avoid thinking about how much time you may have left or think that you will live an average or above average life span. The reality is that not everyone will live a long life, but it sure seems like you can always live a full life no matter how long you have left to live.

    Live-A-Little is an experiment to understand if a daily reminder of how long I may have left to live changes my own approach to living life to the fullest.

View all 2 project logs

Enjoy this project?



lukasz.iwaszkiewicz wrote 09/13/2021 at 16:08 point

This has the same level of abstraction like personal dosimeter, but is way slower :D

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tedbmoss wrote 08/02/2021 at 15:47 point

You could calculate life based on resting heart rate, Since you only have so many heartbeats in your lifetime. It might be more accurate.
 This would work for other mammals like your dog or cat also. This would allow you to change your lifestyle to lower your heart rate to increase your life span if you wanted to.
Same build just change the numbers input.

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Ahron Wayne wrote 06/24/2021 at 02:40 point

How does it know the time when there's no sunlight, is there backup power? Do you plan on do you plan on leaving this out for the rest of your life?

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NM wrote 06/24/2021 at 03:24 point

I think it doesn't know the time. You'd manually tick the year (after living-a-little) with the button.

I'd like to see a display of the "chances of dying this year", as opt-in feature (?)

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tedbmoss wrote 08/02/2021 at 18:17 point

Just use the Doomsday clock for that.

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John Opsahl wrote 06/24/2021 at 03:39 point

It does not keep time. It stores your current age in EEPROM and accesses it every time the device is powered (i.e. whenever the solar panel is in direct sunlight). Solar powered only with no backup power. The intention is that you update your current age every birthday using a jumper wire and the pins on the back of the device. The pin functions are "Set", "+", and "-".
This design is intentionally low-tech and low-maintenance so it can remain operational for as long as possible. Guessing I will eventually see UV damage on the 3D printed PLA parts and the solar panel. Those are very cheap components to replace though.   

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S James Parsons Jr wrote 06/23/2021 at 15:53 point

If a cure for aging happens, can the Omega be changed with an infinity sign?

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John Opsahl wrote 06/23/2021 at 17:02 point

It magically turns into a paper weight once you achieve immortality. Probably the most advanced feature of this build. :)

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